January 30, 2019

Dear students,

We want to wish you a very happy 2019. As mother and daughter, we have extended our celebration of the new year through the entire month of January. We have learned this way of thinking—of continuing the exuberance of celebration—from our Guru, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.

We have been offering seva together on the Siddha Yoga path for eighteen years. We were, therefore, overjoyed when we received the seva assignment to create a new study tool for everyone to engage in depth with Gurumayi’s Message for 2019. This study tool is The Workbook on Gurumayi’s Message for 2019.

We want to explain a bit more about this Workbook. It consists of thirty-six worksheets, which will be available weekly on the Siddha Yoga path website. At the heart of each worksheet will be a question given by Gurumayi based on her Message.

Each new question given by Gurumayi will prompt you to recall, reflect on, ponder, and imagine what you have already gleaned from the Message—and it will direct you to recall, reflect on, ponder, and imagine much more. It’s like a prism; we believe that as you engage with the Workbook, you will uncover new gems, new shafts of light, new dimensions to your understanding. You will notice how much easier it becomes for you to implement the teachings from Gurumayi’s Message in your day-to-day life. In moments when you are feeling the extremes of elation or of downheartedness, you will be able to take the support of Gurumayi’s teachings to bring about composure.

To support you in understanding Gurumayi’s teachings from Sweet Surprise 2019 even more profoundly than you already have, for the first time ever there is a multiple participation package available on the Siddha Yoga path website. We encourage you to participate in Sweet Surprise as many times as you wish while you complete the Workbook.

As educators, we are particularly excited about this study tool, because we know the transformative power of asking the right question—of oneself and of each other—at the right time. Throughout history, astonishing innovations have come from the diligent investigation of questions. The field of neuroscience shows us that when we hear a question, our normal thought process pauses for a moment, while neural impulses are sent out on a journey of discovery. This brief window of not knowing is the ground from which our creative solutions manifest and new insights spring forth.

On the Siddha Yoga path, this space of not knowing can be a window into the great Self. Questions ignite a process of self-inquiry—atma-vichara. Therefore, as you approach each question given by Gurumayi for this Workbook, give yourself to this process wholeheartedly. We would like to provide a simple suggestion, and that is to not settle for a “yes” or “no” response to any of these questions. Don’t take the easy route. Don’t have the notion that there is any one “right” answer to these questions. Let your mind roam in the field of wanting to know. Be open to what this reveals.

We are reminded of a French proverb that says, “L'apprentissage est l'oeil de l'esprit” (Learning is the eye of the mind).

We have found it useful in our Siddha Yoga sadhana to read how the Indian scriptures define the word “mind.” These scriptures explain that the mind is an inner instrument composed of four aspects—the antahkarana chatushtaya. These four aspects articulate different functions of the mind that we use every day as we navigate the world. The four functions are

  • buddhi: the power to understand, discern, imagine, and visualize
  • ahamkara: the power to form our identity and associate experiences with that identity
  • citta1: the power to recall memories that condition our way of thinking
  • manas: the power to take sensory perceptions and organize them into thought

The scriptures also speak about rising above the antahkarana chatushtaya. For example, the sage Adi Shankaracharya teaches about this in his Nirvana-shatkam.

As you make this Workbook an integral part of your Siddha Yoga sadhana this year, 2019, do study Gurumayi’s Message through these four aspects of the mind. Much to your delight, you will discover how Gurumayi’s Message exists beyond the antahkarana chatushtaya. After roaming in the field of wanting to know, you will arrive in the space of cidākāśa, the sky of Consciousness that Gurumayi mentions in her Message talk.

Each worksheet will include activities that provide multiple learning modalities to explore Gurumayi’s question, including art, prose, physicalization, and more.

Here are a few additional tips for using the Workbook:

  • Schedule time throughout the week to return to the worksheet again and again. The activities are designed to be completed over the course of one week.
  • Note your insights in a journal dedicated to this Workbook.

Can you tell? We are so excited to introduce The Workbook on Gurumayi’s Message for 2019 to you!

Warm regards,


Chinmayi Maxwell and Mallika Maxwell
Writers of The Workbook on Gurumayi’s Message for 2019


1 In many Indian scriptures, citta refers to the mind as a whole. In the context of the antahkarana chatushtaya, citta is often taught as this one particular aspect of the inner instrument.